Competitive karuta is a great pastime to enjoy with friends.
We hope to contribute something in appreciation for all we have gained from karuta.
The number of karuta competitors is continuing to grow.
That is why we hope to encourage children who enjoy karuta and
“wish to keep playing for evermore,”
to be able to follow their dreams and grow stronger.
Through competitive karuta, we hope that you can learn about Japan’s traditional Hyakunin Isshu poems and make friends around the world.
By collaborating with everyone who has helped with competitive karuta up to the present, we have established the Chihayafuru Fund in understanding of the need to support children in their enthusiasm.
We thank you for your understanding and support.
who love karuta
1. Sharing the joy of karuta around the world!
The future after "To become No. 1 in Japan means No. 1 in the world"
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu has around 800 years of history. Competitive karuta exists on the flipside of its elegant image: a fierce sport sometimes called the “battle on tatami.”
The game requires a combination of skills, including memory, strong nerves and quick reactions, but there are no advantages due to age or gender, allowing a wide range of people, from children to adults, to enjoy the game.
In recent years, karuta has been gaining popularity, and competitor numbers are said to have grown to over one million, and the world’s first karuta tournament was launched in 2018. The world of karuta is becoming even more diverse, with, for example, the development of Braille karuta for visually impaired people.
We hope that more people can discover the enjoyment of competitive karuta with Ogura Hyakunin Isshu which, in spite of its long history, still has further potential. Tournaments are being held all around the world so that the people can take part in karuta as a part of everyday life, not only in Japan, but in countries everywhere. The titles of Queen and Meijin can become the dreams of children around the world. “No. 1 in Japan means No. 1 in the world” should not be the end. We will spread the joy of karuta around the world, aiming for a future beyond this.
2. We want to support the efforts of competitors
Apparently, the number of competitive karuta players in Japan has almost tripled over the past 10 years. At the same time, both competitors and tournament organizers are facing increased burdens in various aspects.
We hear calls from organizers who want all competitors to be able to participate, but are unable to rent sufficiently large venues.
And from competitors who live far away, and are faced with high travel costs.
Some people want to share tournament information widely, but no one is available to do PR.
In such situations, we will offer support by providing the funds needed to manage tournaments, and the training and placement of operations staff. Additionally, we will cooperate with tournament organizers in PR activities and the like.
For the first step, we will offer prize money totaling one million yen for the winners of the Chihayafuru Ogurayama Cup, to be held at Saga Arashiyama Museum of Arts and Culture on February 23, 2020. (Runners-up and all other competitors will also be eligible for prize money or sponsorship.)
We will also continue to provide assistance to competitors staking their youth on competitive karuta and the tournament organizers capturing that enthusiasm.
3. Taking care of and nurturing children who love karuta
We want to share competitive karuta with children. Our aim is that more children will learn about karuta and will enjoy playing it forever. We believe our role is to help create an environment to achieve this.
In the future, we will provide various types of support in terms of funding for and operation of children's tournaments, starting with senior high school students. We will also strive to provide more tournaments aimed at children and beginners.
By finding something that they love, children can learn to love themselves. Our hope is that more children can experience this through competitive karuta.
4. Providing settings for karuta fans to
We hope that more people can see, hear and feel the dynamism of players brushing aside cards, the sound of hands slapping hard upon the tatami mats, and the gripping tension. Participating in a tournament is not the only way to enjoy competitive karuta. Spectator karuta, watching the players compete, is another way to enjoy the game.
In order that more people can enjoy watching karuta, we will provide funds and technology to support live online broadcasting of tournaments.
Furthermore, we will strive to help build a community of competitors and fans. Because, we believe that helping to increase the number of fans who love karuta and who support competitors can provide stronger external support to the world of karuta.
When competitors, fans and all others who love karuta meet and connect with one another, they can share their enjoyment. We believe that one of our tasks is creating such settings.
5. We want to provide a contact point for people who wish to support karuta
In the future, with support from individuals and companies, we plan to sell unique Chihayafuru Fund merchandise and to create a Karuta Supporter System, as a means to focus the feelings of everybody who hopes to support karuta. Note: Commencement is planned for February 2020.